Delta variant drives COVID surge across U.S. Delta crushes Louisiana health care system. Vaccine rates begin to tick up slightly. Senate infrastructure negotiations are ongoing. CDC warns on how easily Delta variant spreads. Florida becomes U.S. epicenter of pandemic. Dems pressure Biden on voting rights. Protesters call for voting rights end of filibuster. Maricopa County officials defied the Republican-led Arizona Senate`s latest round of subpoenas for the controversial audit in the state`s most populous county seeking access to routers and other materials.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: That`s tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS" starts now.
CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, once again, I`m Chris Jansing, in for Brian Williams day 195 of the Biden administration. And the Delta variant is tightening its grip on the nation driving up COVID cases and hospital admissions. The U.S. has now recorded over 35 million cases and is averaging about 70,000 cases a day. Late this afternoon, the CDC Director revealed new data on the dangers of this hyper contagious Delta strain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: If you get sick with the Delta variant, we estimate that you can infect about five other unvaccinated people more than twice as many as the original strain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JANSING: Researchers said Johns Hopkins University have found five states California, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri and Florida represent 46% of new U.S. COVID cases. Earlier today, officials in Louisiana offered a grim assessment of the situation. That state is set to break its all time record for COVID hospitalizations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN BELEDWARDS, (D) LOUISIANA: Nobody should be laboring under the misapprehension that this is just another surge. We`ve already had three of these. This is the worst one we`ve had thus far.
DR. MARK KLEIN, CHILDREN`S HOSPITAL OF NEW ORLEANS: This virus, the Delta variant of COVID is every infectious disease specialists and epidemiologists worst nightmare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JANSING: As federal health officials have repeatedly warned we`re now in a pandemic of the unvaccinated. And today the White House said some 90 million Americans have yet to get one of the three vaccines available. Yet there are some signs that those holding out may finally be coming around. As of today, the government says 70% of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The President had originally hoped to reach that goal by July 4. Administration officials also say they`re seeing a trend of rising vaccinations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFFREY ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Over the past few weeks, you`ve seen a nearly 70% increase in the average number of new people getting vaccinated each and every day. In the last seven days alone, 3 million Americans have gotten their first shot. That`s the highest seven day totals since July 4.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JANSING: We`re also learning more tonight about so called breakthrough infections which occur in people who are fully vaccinated. A new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds those infections are reported in less than 1% of fully vaccinated.
Tonight Senator Lindsey Graham is among them. He revealed he tested positive for COVID today, saying he began having flu like symptoms Saturday night. The senator says he`ll be in quarantine for 10 days and went on to say, "I am very glad I was vaccinated because without vaccination, I am certain I would not feel as well as I do now."
Graham was one of several senators who attended a Saturday gathering on West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin`s House vote. Manchin says everyone on board was vaccinated and so far Graham is the only one known to have tested positive.
Also tonight there is tragic news, two more law enforcement officers who responded to the January 6 riot have taken their own lives. Washington D.C. Police Officer Gunther Hashida was found dead at his home Thursday. He was an 18 year veteran of the force.
And just a short time ago confirmation that one of the Metro Police colleagues of his, Officer Kyle DeFreytag died by suicide last month. They are now the third and fourth officers who defend the Capitol to do so.
Meantime, The Washington Post reports Trump ally, Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is pushing the theory the FBI knew more about the planning of the insurrection and the bureau led on. The Post obtained video of Johnson spreading that unfounded claim during a political event this weekend in Wisconsin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON JONHSON, (R) WISCONSIN: And by the way, by the way, and I don`t say this publicly, but are you watching what`s happening in Michigan? Are you watching? OK, you`re former CIA?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
JONHSON: OK, so, so you think the FBI had fully infiltrated the militias in Michigan, but they don`t know squat about what was happening on January 6 or what was happening with these groups?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`d say there is, there is way more to, there is way to more to the story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JANSING: Johnson appears to be referring to the FBI discovery of an alleged kidnapping plot targeting democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. There has been no credible evidence to suggest the FBI had a hand in planning the January 6 attack.
Meanwhile, queue up the latest round of infrastructure weak jokes the Senate finally considering the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says it could pass in a matter of days, but the Republican leader seems to be in no hurry to move things along.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK MAJORITY LEADER: Let`s start voting on amendments. The longer it takes to finish the bill, the longer we`ll be here.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY MINORITY LEADER: Our full consideration of this bill must not be choked off by any artificial timetable that our Democratic colleagues may have penciled out for political purposes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JANSING: With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Monday night, Ashley Parker, Pulitzer Prize-winning White House Bureau Chief for The Washington Post, Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence. He`s also the host of the new podcast, the Bureau, and Michael Osterholm. He`s a professor and the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. He was also a COVID adviser to the Biden transition team.
Good to have all of you here. Michael Osterholm, what are we now doing? Where are we in this latest surge?
DR. MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, MEMBER OF BIDEN CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: Well, first of all, you have to understand that we don`t really know why surges occur, what happens that suddenly causes a big increase in cases. And why do we see as a very sudden drop, within five to seven weeks of the top of the surge that`s been happening around the world, I expect the same to happen here, I think probably another four to five weeks. And we`re going to see these numbers drop precipitously. But in the meantime, we`re in trouble. Right now, tonight, if Louisiana was a country, it would actually have the highest rate of cases in the entire world for any country. That`s how bad things are. And I don`t think people yet really understand that that`s the challenge we have for these next five to six or seven weeks.
JANSING: And five to six to seven weeks, schools are already opening in some places, and many will be open in the next four weeks or so. Children under 12, of course, can`t be vaccinated yet. And there are states that not just won`t mandate masks in school. They are forbidding schools to have mask mandates. So what concerns you most about kids in this scenario?
OSTERHOLM: Well, we have to understand that first of all, we do have 100 million people in this country who are not vaccinated of which are half our children. We do know that this virus transmits readily to and by children. And that unlike early thoughts that this spared children, it surely doesn`t affect them at the same rate that we see serious illnesses in adults, is still does affect them, it causes an illness that in terms of deaths, far exceeds by two or three fold the number of deaths we expect to see with influenza. So we don`t want kids to get infected.
Also, we don`t want them to get infected because they`re bringing it home, we now have clear and compelling evidence that in households, kids can bring the virus home to mom and dad, grandpa and grandma, to people who may be at increased risk of serious disease. So this is going to be a challenge. And we just have to acknowledge that we can`t use any, you know, happy talk to say that somehow we can start schools, again, everything will be OK. We want our kids in school. We have to understand there`s going to be challenges.
JANSING: Yeah. And those challenges mean, Ashley, that the White House now finds itself fully back in the middle of this pandemic, even for this critical week when this key item agenda in his agenda he`s trying to get the infrastructure bill to pass is right on the docket. What`s the atmosphere like at the White House right now as these two issues collide?
ASHLEY PARKER, THE WASHINGTON POST, WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF: Well, the White House is privately concerned and understands that they have a real challenge with the Delta variant. You even just look at today`s White House briefing, which for starters, was delayed several hours no explanation given other than, you know, a lot was happening. But a lot of the questions again on a week when they want to be pushing infrastructure, the bipartisan deal and also their more Democratic Progressive plan to pass through reconciliation. A lot of the questions dealt with coronavirus, which they came in and said was one of the four major crises of the administration and they have not yet solved it and they are grappling now what Delta variant done is a messaging problem because they have to talk about the breakthrough paces, which in some ways, is a complicated message that undermines their key thing, which is still the utmost important, which is that everyone needs to get vaccinated. So they`re trying to say everyone needs to get vaccinated and yet you maybe vaccinated and you might have a breakthrough pace but you absolutely still need to get vaccinated, you know, in public health prices when messaging is key, this just throws another wrench in complicated messaging.
JANSING: Meantime, Frank, all this politics. You heard what Ron Johnson said about the FBI and I want you to listen to Tucker Carlson back in June.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: So FBI operatives were organizing the attack on the Capitol on January 6, according to government documents, and those two are not alone. In all Revolver News reported there are, "upwards of 20 unindicted co-conspirators in the Oath Keeper indictments, all playing various roles in the conspiracy, who have not been charged for virtually the exact same activities, and in some cases, much, much more severe activities as those named alongside them in the indictments." Huh, so it turns out that this white supremacist insurrection was, again by the government`s own admission in these documents organized at least in part by government agents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JANSING: I mean, Frank, if you want to say, huh, none of this nothing that is tied to any evidence. What`s your reaction, though, when you hear those conspiracy theories, especially when they seem to take root with high ranking elected officials like senators?
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: Well, first, I`m troubled that we`re even having to discuss this, but because it now seems to be an organized, orchestrated propaganda thread that we`re going to keep hearing, the more our Select Committee in the house keeps getting to the bottom of the real facts. Let`s go ahead and address it once again. With regard to Mr. Carlson`s assertion that the phrase unindicted co-conspirator in these indictments of the January 6 defendants means or equals FBI operative, there`s no legal justification for saying that it`s not true. He could have asked an attorney or prosecutor or defense attorney, what unindicted co-conspirator means, and he would have found out, it does not mean FBI operative.
Now, we`re seeing it come in a different version from Senator Johnson, not again, based in any fact, but rather insinuating that somehow the FBI must have orchestrated this. Let`s remember Chris, we first heard that Antifa was actually responsible for the violence on January 6, then we heard it was just another typical tourist day. And now of course, we`re hearing no, no, nevermind, it was the FBI. I say this and Senator Johnson has actual material facts that the FBI was responsible for pulling off the violence on January 6, I`m sure he`d be very happy to volunteer or even comply with a subpoena to appear before the House Select Committee so he can explain everything he knows about January 6.
JANSING: A typical tourist day, after which, four Capitol Police officers have taken their own lives. Let`s punctuate that shall we.
Frank, I also want to ask you about this report in Politico that Trump`s legal team will not immediately tried to block testimony from six of his former Justice Department officials that are called before Congress. Does that signal anything to you?
FIGLIUZZI: I think that they know they`re on the losing side of any legal argument. The -- we`ve got signals from DOJ that attorney client privilege isn`t going to work. Executive privilege isn`t going to work. I think they`re regrouping. I don`t think we`ve heard the last of an argument or a fight from the Trump camp. But I think they`re baffled right now realizing that there are real people in charge, real lawyers and career professionals in charge now at DOJ. And Congress is taking this seriously. They`re regrouping right now. It`s not the last we`ve heard from them.
JANSING: Ashley Parker, remember when summers were slow? Remember that? Here`s the big picture D.C. question for you with everything else that`s going on. What are the chances right now as we sit here that Joe Biden could actually not just see his infrastructure bill, but the budget bill, the one that has all of his social safety net proposals become reality?
PARKER: It is a great question. And that second one you mentioned is actually the bigger wildcard. Now, to be clear, for President Biden, the bipartisan bill is important because it`s not just the infrastructure that`s in it, but for him and the way he has cast it and the way he speaks about and what he truly believe, is that it would prove if it passes, something more existential and broader about bipartisanship and government despite all of this still working. But the real question is, in doing that, he is risking, upsetting progressives, the liberal wing, the activist wing of his party. That basically said we suspended disbelief. We helped elect you because we believed you supported our priorities and we are not going to get rolled on this and passes by partisan deal and not get all these, not just goodies, but things that again, we sort of philosophically at our core believe in. They are not going let one bill pass without the other.
JANSING: And let me take you back if I can, Michael Osterholm, to what we all know, just based on what happened at the press briefing today at the White House. What is on the minds of the American people? What`s on the mind, certainly of the press corps? And that is what`s happening with the coronavirus. The CDC guidance on masks once again, just to reiterate what we found out last week, wear them in public indoor settings and areas with high transmission. So I go back to a question I asked you probably more than a year ago, what kind of masks? I`ve ordered, you know, tons of these little papery things now, which I see most people wearing. Is that OK? Is that good enough?
OSTERHOLM: It`s very important to wear adequate protection. And what we mean by that is you need to wear an N-95 respirator, it looks like a mask, but they`re very different. There`s plenty of them. A year ago, there weren`t very many at all.
JANSING: Yeah, in fact, we were told doing -- what you`re taking it away from medical professionals.
OSTERHOLM: Not now, not now. There`s more than enough. And let me just tell you, I think that they`ll give you a sense of the mask you`re talking about in the upper Midwest, where we are now suffering from all the smoke from the fires in Canada, in the western United States. We`ve had many people complain about while wearing their masks was so smoky, that they had to take the mask off, meaning that that air -- that smoke got through into the mask. That`s like what an aerosol is, when I`m breathing that`s what I do. So you want to wear a mask. It`s adequate protection, very important to do that. So get an N-95.
JANSING: OK. The U.K. and Germany both planning to give third booster shots because of all this talk about these breakthrough infections. That`s going to happen in September. We know Israel already was doing that. Should the U.S. be gearing up to do the same and to your knowledge, are we?
OSTERHOLM: Well, clearly the government`s looking at it very carefully. Looking at the data as to the time from when you got vaccinated until six, seven or eight months later, do we see waning immunity or a reduction in the protection of the vaccine? My hunch is that within a few months, we likely will be also offering boosters to at least those who are older and those who may have underlying immune suppression conditions.
JANSING: Dr. Michael Osterholm, Ashley Parker, Frank Figliuzzi, always good to see all of you. Thank you so much.
And coming up, COVID patients are coming in so fast in Florida now. Some are being treated intense. We`ll get an update from one of the exhausted physicians on the frontlines there.
And later, in what could be a critical week in the defense of voting rights why some experts are sounding the alarm about election subversion, THE 11TH HOUR just getting underway on a Monday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many people did you have with COVID here in your hospital in June?
DR. ELIZABETH DEVOS, UF HEALTH JACKSONVILLE EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: We had 14 in June.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now?
DEVOS: We`re over 220. We`re seeing more patients now than we`ve seen ever before, Vaughn that are sick with COVID and very ill. We`re having mostly younger patients in their 40s and 50s.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you seeing 20 year olds, 30 year olds?
DEVOS: I`ve even admitted a patient as young as three weeks old to the hospital with COVID.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JANSING: Yeah, Jacksonville ER doc who says the patients are now younger and healthier than ever before. And we know Florida`s hospitals are swamped. That state is heading toward its worst coronavirus outbreak yet. Hospitalizations tonight are up to 10,389. The AP reports at the University of Florida Health North Hospital Emergency room in Jacksonville COVID-19 patients once again we`re being put in beds in hallways due to a surge in visits.
And in South Florida there`s an alarming rise in younger COVID patients. The Miami Herald reports many need intensive care and nearly all are unvaccinated.
For more we welcome to the broadcast Dr. Bernard Ashby. He`s the Miami- based Cardiologist and the Florida State lead for the Committee to Protect Health Care. Thank you so much for being with us, Dr. Ashby, Florida now the epicenter of this virus. He told my colleague, Jeff Bennett earlier today, this is Groundhog Day all over again. Tell us about the flood of patients you`re seeing now and how quickly this situation has worsened.
DR. BERNARD ASHBY, MIAMI-BASED CARDIOLOGIST: Well, pleasure for having me here. And it`s great to have a platform, speak on behalf of Floridians and healthcare professionals down here. I mean, this is, you know, we`re having PTSD. I mean, you know, the initial surge that we went through, was very disturbing, very stressful. And we thought we were -- this was behind us. I mean, we had the vaccine vaccination campaign, we thought that the light was at the end of the tunnel. But yet here we are, again. But the difference is, our leaders, particularly our governor, has really done nothing in terms of slowing this, you know, freight train now. I mean, really, he`s opposed to any mitigation measures. He`s come out staunchly against really any mandate against enforcing mask. And we know that that`s a tool that definitely slows down the transmission of the coronavirus. And the fact that he`s making it a political issue as opposed to a public health issue is definitely impacting our morale and the hospital.
JANSING: Well, for example, Broward County Public Schools said they were going to have a mask mandate. And then when Governor DeSantis said what he said, they backtracked on that, how worried are you as kids are heading to school? And how frustrating is this for you and your colleagues? Because you know what works?
ASHBY: I mean, I`ve been saying the same thing over and over and over again, let the professionals do their job, let us do our job. And just consult with us, let`s come up with a strategy that addresses his concerns, leaders concerns, as well as the public health concerns and two are not mutually exclusive. But rather than do that, we have no mitigation measures. We`ve been shut out of the conversation. And in fact, Governor DeSantis actually attacked myself and my colleagues when we decided to speak up about this saying that, you know, the no mitigation measures basically won`t affect this basically says that we don`t know what we`re talking about. And this kind of flip it attitude is something that is really at the height of disrespect, but I consider reckless, and I think he`s taking the page out of Trump`s book because people forget that during the winter surge when we are at our peak, Donald Trump did absolutely nothing after losing the election. But -- and by all accounts, it looks like it didn`t hurt him at all. And I think he`s making a political calculation over the health of the population.
And for from our standpoint, this is not the time to play politics, I believe that a lot more people in Florida would be, you know, more willing to accept him if he actually did a job. And the fact that he`s being derelict in his duties is very revealing. And so, you know, when there`s a point, when your leaders are actually choosing politics over live, that is something very disturbing. So, you know, I don`t know what to do at this point, I`m just going to continue to speak up. I`ve gotten a ton of messages from healthcare professionals who credit, who thanked me for speaking up because I`m saying and echoing things that they feel, and right now we are at a breaking point, and it`s only going to get worse. And once school starts, things will continue to get worse. You know, we really don`t know what to do at this point, we just hope that he has a change of mind.
JANSING: I can`t even imagine what it`s like to have the governor of your state attacking your credibility, attacking your professionalism. But as you said, you`re not alone in that. And all of you folks, all of you have been on the front lines for this entire pandemic. I mean, are you going to have enough staff to handle this severe surge? And what are the conversations like, among you folks at the hospital, how exhausted physically, mentally are you?
ASHBY: I mean, people are stress, especially the nurses, I mean. The nurses don`t get enough credit for what they do. They`re the ones that are with these patients, day in and day out, they`re in the rooms being exposed to the virus, they actually sacrificing their own health, knowing that there`s a possibility that they can get infected, even though they`ve been vaccinated. Because the Delta variant is so much different, the equation has changed, the viral load is much higher, and the chances of breakthrough infection are much higher. And as a result of that, you know, they`re actually putting their lives and their health at risk. And, you know, the fact that we don`t have the backing of our leadership is something that is, you know, demoralizing, you know.
JANSING: Do you have any insights, Doctor, into what works and trying to talk to people who are unvaccinated, there such a rising frustration among the vaccinated, I mean, folks have tried everything, a $2 million vaccine lottery and Maryland, million bucks in Ohio, you know, big screen TVs in Arkansas, and sometimes just conversations, Doctor, to patient, what do you think is going to work here?
ASHBY: Well, I think it`s important to realize that vaccination rates were low in certain demographics prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a healthcare system has failed, large demographics, part of the pandemic, heart disease killed more people than the COVID-19 pandemic last year, these problems are, are baked into the cake. And we need to address those fundamental issues because people don`t trust the system. They don`t trust a lot of our institutions, because they see what happens day in and day out. I am a black physician, I`m a black cardiologist. And we, you know, I talk a lot about disparities. But I understand that disparities are not an abstract concept. I see how patients of color, particularly black women, indigenous women, people who don`t speak English get treated in the hospital. And so they feel that this system doesn`t care about them. So when they do see the government all of a sudden pushing the vaccine, and they`re like, wait, hold up, he didn`t care about me before, but all of a sudden you care about me. And I think it`s important for us to listen to that distrust because other folks are using that distrust and jumping in -- and taking them and jumping off of a cliff essentially, and risking their own health.
And so what I find is that, because I`m connected to my community, I`m connected to my patients, that they mostly -- most of them have gotten their vaccinations, but I`m not able to speak to everybody. I`m not ever able to, you know, be in every, you know, one on one interaction in any, in every patient room. But I do understand that we need to do something about our healthcare system. I think this is the moment where we need to have a fundamental reckoning with our healthcare system that actually is profit driven, not health driven. And I think once we, once we understand that, and we start taking care of our patients, our population, that a lot more folks will be eager to get vaccinated, eager to get health advice and eager to take care of their health. But, you know, right now, we`re kind of late to the party and trying to address these issues, while addressing this pandemic is making things a lot more difficult than there`s a lot of people with political ambitions and agendas that are using it to their advantage unfortunately.
JANSING: Dr. Bernard Ashby thank you for hanging in there and thank you so much for being on the program tonight. Coming up, President Biden tonight call that the single most important thing that we have to do the latest on efforts to protect the right to vote when THE 11TH HOUR continues.
JANSING: Voting rights activists are ramping up pressure on Congress to get protections passed into law. More than 200 peaceful protesters were arrested today, including prominent civil rights leaders Reverend Jesse Jackson and William Barber.
Meanwhile, more than 100 lawmakers from more than 20 states have now joined the quorum busting Democrats from Texas who have been in Washington since July 12 fighting for reform.
And tonight, a scathing letter from the GOP chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors rejecting a new subpoena from Arizona State Senate Republicans, the folks who are steering that blatantly partisan ballot audit.
Back with us tonight, Cornell Belcher, Democratic pollster and veteran of the Obama campaign and Stuart Stevens, a veteran of Mitt Romney and George W. Bush`s presidential campaign, who is now with the Lincoln Project. Good to see you guys.
So Cornell, in that letter, the Republican chairman called the never ending ballot review and adventure and never, never land, which points to what President Biden said earlier during a fundraising call today.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: The single most important thing that we have to do is we have to protect the voting system. Protect the sacred right to vote. It`s under assault in ways I haven`t seen in my entire career.
What Republicans want to do is say a political party gets to the side if a vote counts. It`s outrageous. We`re going to fight like hell so that doesn`t happen.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
JANSING: So Cornell, in your mind what does fight like hell need to look like faced with, frankly, the reality of what`s happening in states like Arizona?
CORNELL BELCHEN, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Well, when you look at the legislators who come here, who are at the frontline of this in the States, and I say up close. And you connect the dots back, Chris, with reporting, that has been done on our network here. And in many newspapers, you know, documenting what the pressure that the President was putting -- President Trump was putting on state officials. And now we understand that the pressure is putting on his AG and the notes to, you know, just say it`s corrupted, we`ll take it from there.
What held out was our infrastructure. The infrastructure of our election system did their job. They didn`t break under the pressure. And now what we`re seeing is Republican legislators across the country, dismantle that structure that held our democracy up and saved our democracy.
And I think we`re right to be alarmed by this because they are -- just like we`re watching -- we`re literally watching them set up and create the ability to overthrow an election in the future. And be very clear, Chris, they will overthrow another election in the future if our infrastructure -- if our election system can`t stop them from doing so.
So I think this is the highest threat to American democracy. And I think, you know, I know it`s infrastructure week. But once this is passed, there can`t be a more high priority for Democrats and for people of all good, you know, whether you`re Republican or Democrat, if you believe in democracy, there`s no higher priority than us, you know, supporting and strengthening our election infrastructure. So they can`t take democracy away from us.
JANSING: But Stuart, as you take a lay of the land, do you think changing the filibuster is the only option left to get something done on voting rights?
STUART STEVENS, "IT WAS ALL A LIE" AUTHOR: Well, probably. We got to have some federal laws here, because these states are not shy about what they`re doing. I mean, 40 states or something out there trying to introduce legislation to reduce burden words.
JANSING: Well, here we go, Stuart, here`s this stat that I saw tonight. They`re pushing for changes in 49 states, 49 states in what qualifies as, you know, how to vote. 18 have passed new laws already. And that`s in the last six months.
STEVENS: Yes, the basic question is, would this be happening if Donald Trump won? And the answer overwhelmingly is no. So there`s no good faith here. This is not an effort to protect democracy. It`s an effort to subvert democracy. And we`re I think we`re really hindered here is our inability to imagine what is going on. It`s a failure of imagination on our part.
The people who are trying to do this understand what their goal is. Those of us who support like a pluralistic democracy and win expand voting rights, we find it difficult to believe that they`re really doing this, but they are. And we need to fight this as if democracy is under threat because it is in a way that it really hasn`t been since 1860.
JANSING: So Cornell, there`s a top election law expert, his name is Richard Haste, and he had this to say to the New Yorker on the state of voting rights, he said, I`m scared less. It`s not just about voter suppression. What I`m really worried about is election subversion. Election officials are being put in place who will mess with the count. How worried should we be?
BELCHER: I agree. I`m scared out of my mind that we`re watching democracy slip away. This how we lose democracy and it is it is done in the state levels without the need for a super majority.
And, you know, look, I think, pushes out, you know, like my mom was a pushes got to come to shove over to filibuster. You know, I know that the President is reluctant to change the rules, but it`s just a rule. It`s not in the Constitution. And I got to think at some point, this rises to the state of emergency where we`re more of us are scared out of our minds that we`re going to lose democracy, and we got to get rid of it. And that means getting rid of the filibuster to do so to save democracy than by filibuster.
JANSING: So here`s where we are right now, Stuart. In Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers says I would like to know if, this is her on Twitter, if we have enough solitary confinement cells in Arizona, available for the entire Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, she wants to lock them up.
STEVENS: Yes. Yes.
JANSING: They`re saying that we`re not going to go along with the big lie.
STEVENS: The underlying level of this is a constant threat or reality of violence. When you see McCarthy talking about hitting the speaker with a gavel, when you see what happened on January 6, there is a violent undercurrent to this that we can`t ignore. And the fact that why is it the Republicans don`t want to talk about January 6, because they know that it was a failed coup to actually subvert that election system. And they`re going about it now in quiet ways. They`re hoping people aren`t going to notice.
But underneath it is the same instinct, but lock them up in isolation. Go ahead and seize Vice President Pence. It is about violence. It is about a basic threat to democracy.
JANSING: So Cornell, Stuart stay with us because coming up what one Republican is saying about subpoenas for other Republicans in the January 6 investigation, when THE 11TH HOUR continues.
JANSING: If anyone was looking to quantify just how much power Donald Trump holds over the Republican Party, a glance at his war chest gives us a pretty strong indication. Politico was first to report that despite his continued election fraud lies, pro Trump groups have raised more than $100 million that they have now in the bank. 82 million of it raised in the first half of this year.
Quote, this scenario is virtually unprecedented never in history has a former president bank nine figures worth of donations to power a political operation. While the former president is out of office and has been deep platformed on social media sites, he maintains a massive online donor network that could -- he could lean on should he wage a 2024 comeback bid.
Still with Cornell Belcher and Stuart Stevens. So, Stuart, what`s your reaction to those figures? I mean, Trump`s election lies only seem to be providing fuel to his fundraising.
STEVENS: Well, that`s exactly right. It`s not, in spite of the big lie, big lie is fueling this. Look, we should consider Donald Trump the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party in 2024. I don`t know who`s going to even challenge with him if he runs. And I think he will, right. It`s pretty clear that we`re on for many reasons, including money.
The Trump world took over the RNC and basically turned it into a money laundering function for the Trump family. That`s why they`re afraid of having anybody come in and actually look at what`s going on. So look, this is a Trump party. I hate to say it, but it`s true. And there`s no reason to believe it`s not going to stay that way.
JANSING: Well, let`s see Cornell, what if anything comes out of the January 6 Select Committee, a member of that committee, Adam Kinzinger said this on Sunday?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM KINZINGER(R-IL): I think what we need to know is what happened. So if you look at it, what is it going to take to find out what happened since they talking to a lot of people. It`s going to take thorough investigations. So I would expect to see a significant number of subpoenas for a lot of people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would use support subpoenas to the Republican leader in the House and to Jim Jordan?
KINZINGER: I would support subpoenas to anybody that can shed light on that. If that`s the leader, that`s the leader.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JANSING: Anybody who could shed light on that Cornell, what do you think? How far did democrats need to go with this investigation?
BELCHER: Well, I think you`re seeing why McCarthy didn`t want serious Republicans on that committee about this. Because the truth of the matter is, if that committee doesn`t devolve -- doesn`t, you know, devolve into a partisan circus, which he wanted to have done with the Republican that he`s liked it up there, you know, the leading circus leader being Jim Jordan, it becomes a very serious, investigative body that`s going to, you know, turn over every rock and look around every corner.
And that means of that subpoena and some of the people that McCarthy wanted to put on that committee to, in fact muddy the waters. You know, I`ve said this before, I`ll say it again. There`s an awful lot of smoke here for their not to be any fire, right. And in some point if this body does its job and put people on, you know, put people out there and make them testify around this, we`re going to find out sort of in detail what that Trump knew when he knew it. And what did the other Republican leaders sort of know and talk to him about behind the scenes here, which the American people need to know and the American people have the right.
So I`m excited about by this bipartisan committee, and that his desk that a serious investigative body and it`s not turned into the sort of the partisan circus that I think McCarthy wanted it to turn into.
JANSING: So Kinzinger doesn`t rule out a McCarthy subpoena and touching on what was talked about briefly in our last segment. I want to get a quick reaction to both -- from both of you to this from Kevin McCarthy over the weekend.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA) MINORITY LEADER: I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel. It`ll be hard not to hit her with it.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
JANSING: Cornell, his spokesperson said he was joking, joking about violence against the Speaker of the House who`s let us not forget with being hunted by a mob on January 6th.
BELCHER: You know, and I`ll let Stuart speak to this because he can speak to it better and I can`t, but this is not a Republican Party that I grew up with. I mean, can you imagine, you know, Bob Dole or Reagan, you know, joking about hitting a woman. And to be a little bit more deeper than that, you know, this is not, you know, this is not civility. You know, it`s not just a southern thing, but it`s the thing where we don`t joke about hitting women, and that he can joke about hitting women as sort of tells us how evolved that we`ve come in our politics.
JANSING: Yes, Stuart, can you imagine this coming out of Mitt Romney.
STEVENS: No, of course not. Look, these guys like McCarthy, they know how to play this game. They go when they curry favor from the rich and the powerful. And then they go out and they speak to people who understand this language by account. This is encouraging violence. This is sending direct part of a larger message stream to encourage those who want to intimidate people want to vote, want to intimidate people who support democracy. It`s really not complicated.
And we want to just call it out for what it is intimidation by violence by a leader in a major party in the United States.
JANSING: But he`s not going to pay a price for it within his party.
STEVENS: Of course he won`t. He does it because he gets applauded when he goes up.
STEVENS: That`s what the party. The entire infrastructure the Republican Party was behind what happened on January 6. The President and his White House staff, the senators, congressmen and their staff, donors, Attorney General`s out there.
STEVENS: And that part terrified us.
JANSING: The fundraising continues. Cornell Belcher, Stuart Stevens, thank you both. Appreciate it. And coming up what you need to know about flying this summer. I`m in a new wave of flight cancellations when THE 11TH HOUR continues.
JANSING: Despite the alarming surge in new COVID cases, Americans are still going places. Air travel is almost back to pre-pandemic levels. But all those travelers have airlines scrambling to keep up with demand. NBC News correspondent Tom Costello has this report.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Amid the summer surge in air travel, frustration and anger as airlines have rebooked passengers without asking different flights different seats, different departure and arrival times. And customers forced to wait for hours just to talk on the phone with the representative. Some venting on Twitter. The wait time is six hours. Six, please help. And how can an airline randomly change your entire flight?
Florida Dr. Scott Fosco (ph) booked tickets to Idaho for a family wedding only to have the airline changed his tickets twice from a 7:00 a.m. departure to 5pm. Then a 14-hour wait for a return phone call.
DR. SCOTT FOSCO (ph), REBOOKED PASSENGER: They bumped us to the just about I think it`s the last flight jumping over for other flights that got in earlier. No explanation other than, you know, flight changes.
COSTELLO: Delta Airlines concedes it`s struggling to meet the post-COVID demand juggling planes and crews admitting it doesn`t have enough customer service reps.
In an email to cost bombers Delta CEO writes, we assure you that these challenges are temporary adding that as hiring more than 5,000 people across the business, Southwest, Spirit and American have also struggled canceling flights and rebooking passengers.
CHARLIE LEOCHA, TRAVELERS UNITED PRESIDENT AND CEO: What we`ve seen is we`ve seen the airlines attempt to come back to full service overnight, and they just have not been able to do it.
COSTELLO (on camera): If an airline changes your ticket, it should not charge you a change fee. But if you change your ticket, some airlines will charge you a fee.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
JANSING: And therein lies the rub. Tom Costello, thank you for that report. Coming up, a good reason to get a free early tomorrow morning, when THE 11TH HOUR continues.
JANSING: The last thing before we go tonight, a quick Olympics update. American gymnast Jade Carey won the gold medal on floor exercise today. The 21-year-old from Arizona shared the victory with her coach who also happens to be her dad. The medal is the fifth claim by the U.S. women`s gymnastics team.
And tomorrow, Olympic superstar Simone Biles plans to compete in the balance being final in her return to the games. It comes of course after Biles took a break from competition citing mental health concerns.
Now, if you want to watch Biles compete and who doesn`t, you better be up early. The balanced team final begins at 4:50 a.m. Eastern.
And quick reminder you can hear latest news and updates from all your favorite MSNBC hosts anytime, anywhere on any device with tune in, go to tunein.com/MSNBC2021 to listen commercial free with tune in premium.
That is our broadcast this Monday night with our thanks for being with us. On behalf of all my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.